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Diagnose Wifi Instability

433 99 November 19, 2019 at 06:30 PM
Can anyone recommend any tools/utilities to help me diagnose sporadic wifi hiccups? I have a 50MB connection from ATT and everything wired seems to work well. I have the ATT modem in bridge mode to an Asus RT-N66U. The wifi on multiple devices, most of them iOS, will occasionally hiccup... meaning websites will not load, etc. After a few moments it will usually resume working. I have tried all sorts of settings on the Asus and ATT box. I even flashed Merlin on the Asus and the problem continued. I then replaced the Asus with another RT-N66U and no change. Could it be the ATT box? I do have IP security cameras running on the local network with Blue Iris that likely generate a lot of traffic, but only 2 of them are wifi. The rest are hard wired. I am getting beyond frustrated with this and would love to identify the issue!

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#2
Taking the wifi cams offline is a simple enough test.

I'll assume the ATT modem and RTN66U are connected with a cable... if not remedy that.

Minimize or eliminate LAN to LAN traffic through the ATT modem if there is any. In other words don't use it as a switch. You said it's bridged so this probably isn't relevant, but just in case.

Access the status page for the ATT modem. It should give you a bunch of signal stats (signal, noise, snr), an error count, uncorrectable error count, number of retrains, unavailable seconds you'll likely see these error and retrain numbers go up when you have issues. I do recall being annoyed with the status display on AT&T's modems compared to other DSL modems, so find whatever status info you can. While it could be the wifi, I think there's a good chance it's the DSL. Momentary 'hiccups' like that are quite common and infuriating with DSL and often have to do with line conditions like water infiltration between you and the DSLAM..

When there's a hiccup, is there an disruption in your wifi cameras or any other cameras in Blue Iris (watch the timestamp closely)? You can also monitor for packet loss on your LAN with a continuous ping test. Are the wifi cameras all purely local or are some of the "cloud" cameras (ring, nest, logi, etc.). In other words, does blue iris connect directly to all of the cameras?
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Last edited by jkee November 19, 2019 at 10:40 PM.
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#3
Maybe too much stuff connected. Create another WiFi network with your phone as a hotspot & load some stuff to it. Reboot gateway & see.
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#4
Quote from jkee
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Taking the wifi cams offline is a simple enough test.

I'll assume the ATT modem and RTN66U are connected with a cable... if not remedy that.

Minimize or eliminate LAN to LAN traffic through the ATT modem if there is any. In other words don't use it as a switch. You said it's bridged so this probably isn't relevant, but just in case.

Access the status page for the ATT modem. It should give you a bunch of signal stats (signal, noise, snr), an error count, uncorrectable error count, number of retrains, unavailable seconds you'll likely see these error and retrain numbers go up when you have issues. I do recall being annoyed with the status display on AT&T's modems compared to other DSL modems, so find whatever status info you can. While it could be the wifi, I think there's a good chance it's the DSL. Momentary 'hiccups' like that are quite common and infuriating with DSL and often have to do with line conditions like water infiltration between you and the DSLAM..

When there's a hiccup, is there an disruption in your wifi cameras or any other cameras in Blue Iris (watch the timestamp closely)? You can also monitor for packet loss on your LAN with a continuous ping test. Are the wifi cameras all purely local or are some of the "cloud" cameras (ring, nest, logi, etc.). In other words, does blue iris connect directly to all of the cameras?
Really appreciate the detailed reply. I found the attached stats in the router page. Does anything look concerning? All of my cameras are local and record locally - checking time stamps during stutters is a good thought. I'll have to do that over the next couple days. What would I use to perform a continuous ping test on my LAN?
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#5
Very possible the combo box is having issue one reason I don't like all in one boxes. Do you have DSL or Cable. Have you tried using a different channel, does using just the 5 or 2.4 bands make a difference?
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Quote from WaarrEagle
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Really appreciate the detailed reply. I found the attached stats in the router page. Does anything look concerning? All of my cameras are local and record locally - checking time stamps during stutters is a good thought. I'll have to do that over the next couple days. What would I use to perform a continuous ping test on my LAN?
In addition to these status screens, you may have something like a WAN status, statistics, or DSL disagnostics page that shows some other stats like retrains, connection uptime, session time, PPPoE status, uncorrectable errors in a different format.

When it acts up, log in and pull up the stats / status page before you reboot the modem. If you reboot, you lose this info. I really haven't used 2wire modems that much.

Training history, notice the time stamps. When a DSL link has serious issues and the link is lost it "retrains" which is basically the link negotiating it does on power up. Sometimes a modem will retrain at a slower speed. If there were a bunch rows of data here it would indicate losing the link and retraining.

Mgn is noise margin according to the internet. Higher is better, numbers seem reasonable.

CRC is zero in your screenshot which surprises me. I believe this is 2wire's representation of uncorrectable errors.

FEC is forward error correction. Basically, the PPPoE encapsulation sends to redundant data so it can correct for some data loss using FEC (eg. reed solomon). This number will never be zero, but if it's large or growing rapidly can indicate problems. Your number for line 1 is quite a bit higher than line 2.

Do you have POTS phone service on either of these lines?
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#7
Quote from jkee
:
In addition to these status screens, you may have something like a WAN status, statistics, or DSL disagnostics page that shows some other stats like retrains, connection uptime, session time, PPPoE status, uncorrectable errors in a different format.

When it acts up, log in and pull up the stats / status page before you reboot the modem. If you reboot, you lose this info. I really haven't used 2wire modems that much.

Training history, notice the time stamps. When a DSL link has serious issues and the link is lost it "retrains" which is basically the link negotiating it does on power up. Sometimes a modem will retrain at a slower speed. If there were a bunch rows of data here it would indicate losing the link and retraining.

Mgn is noise margin according to the internet. Higher is better, numbers seem reasonable.

CRC is zero in your screenshot which surprises me. I believe this is 2wire's representation of uncorrectable errors.

FEC is forward error correction. Basically, the PPPoE encapsulation sends to redundant data so it can correct for some data loss using FEC (eg. reed solomon). This number will never be zero, but if it's large or growing rapidly can indicate problems. Your number for line 1 is quite a bit higher than line 2.

Do you have POTS phone service on either of these lines?
No POTS on either line. I did find the below stats under broadband. Nothing looks awful but the issue is very sporadic... often enough to annoy me but hard to catch. Now that I know these screens are here, I will be sure to keep an eye on them next time it acts up.
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Quote from WaarrEagle
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No POTS on either line. I did find the below stats under broadband. Nothing looks awful but the issue is very sporadic... often enough to annoy me but hard to catch. Now that I know these screens are here, I will be sure to keep an eye on them next time it acts up.
One thing you could try, is running a Cat-5e / 6 cable directly to the demarc on the side of the house to bypass the existing Cat-3 or worse wiring in the house.
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#9
Are you using the 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz wifi networks? Possible that the 2.4 is congested or something is interfering with it.
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Quote from EyeBaller
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Are you using the 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz wifi networks? Possible that the 2.4 is congested or something is interfering with it.
This happened at my office. All of a sudden half the office kept dropping wifi signal. I checked with an app to see all the bands being broadcast, that side was very congested (clear by the router of course). I ended up adding an access point to fix the issue. Side note, the 5Ghz was very clear, but most of our stuff doesn't connect on that band.
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#11
If a phone or tablet that is connected to your WiFi is just barely making a connection, it can slow your traffic down, as it has to check in all the time, even just to say "I'm good, nothing to transmit this turn" and all other devices on your network have to wait for this to happen (this happens on ALL your connected devices All the time).

So see if you can see what devices are connected to your WiFi when you go to do your tests.
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#12
Try an app on Android wifi Anaylyzer and see what channels everyone is using. If the channels are congested it can cause wifi drop issues and speed issues. You can set the router to a less congested midband channel under the wireless settings page.
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#13
I had the tmobile asus router and after 2 years it started to hiccup try resetting it,it did not help me so I changed to another brand you can put other firmware on the asus
https://advancedtomato.com/downloads
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#14
My experience, anecdotal and not carefully tested, suggests the Asus router. I had two of the same model router, and over the course of a couple of years, had Wifi instability issues in two different environments, mostly with TVs and streaming devices. Random drops and timeouts were the biggest problem. Very inconsistent. I always blamed the devices, but I've come to believe it was the router. I replaced both routers with Tenda AC15s, first using the stock firmware (flaw: very basic), and eventually updated them to the Tomato firmware for that router. My problems went away with the new routers. Rock solid wirless network ever since.

I'm an Asus fan, and believe I had too much faith in them based on the brand name. Should have ditched them sooner.
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#15
change your router I had t mobile asus router started dropping wifi I bought different brand no drops try changing firmware to tomatoe
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